There is a lonely, socially awkward gentleman at my Starbucks every morning. My preference would be to bury my head in my computer and headphones instead of talking to him. My struggle with the discipline to care for him brought to mind a post from last year…
Tomorrow John and I are leaving to go to Sri Lanka, off the coast of India (yes, I had to check). He for a World Vision Board meeting. Me, to support him in his Board-dom and see more of God’s world and work.
The amount of travel I get to do is a privilege I don’t take lightly. I’m blessed, but I told the girls it doesn’t bode well for me that one of the first things I read about Sri Lanka is that they have 84 different kinds of snakes, but not to worry because not that many are poisonous.
I hate snakes. I mean really. Me and Indiana Jones.
So, Sri Lanka has that against it. And it’s like a million hours on three flights to get there which I could live without.
But, I’ve been thinking. Discomfort and snakes aside, in many ways it’s easier for me to go across the world and build relational bridges to folks in Sri Lanka, than it is for me to go across the street and build a bridge to my neighbors who smoke and have loud parties and yell at their kids.
It may be easier to fly across continents than for me to make the time to fight traffic and go across the city to a homeless shelter, or to tutor.
Sometimes it’s easier to jet across time-zones than to walk across the Great Room at church and include someone who is hard to love. Or cross the coffee shop to listen to enter into someone’s pain, or reach out to a stranger.
I think of what it was like for Jesus, leaving the pure delight of heaven and coming across time and space to enter into the everyday brokenness, muck and mess of this world He loves.
And then He went across cultural and economic and class lines to reach the Samaritan, the tax-collector, the confused rich, and the broken-hearted father.
I think the reason it’s easier for us to go across the world than across the street is because across the street is just so everyday. It’s always right there. It’s the ever-present opportunity we’ll get to “someday”.
Going across my city, my neighborhood, my church, my home, my coffee shop. It’s not like it’s a big deal. Which is why, perhaps it is a big deal to Jesus.
A quote by Gregory Boyle has captured me this week:
Jesus “goes where love has not yet arrived.”
So on this last day before Sri Lanka, my goal is to go across wherever I can go across in my everyday world, prayerfully going where maybe love has not yet arrived.
Where is it hard for you to go across?